Monday, 8 April 2019

Saturday, 2 March 2019

On a sunny Saturday afternoon in Seville. On an overcast morning in New York. Sometime past midnight in Tokyo. A Saturday in Abidjan. This is how you live now. This is how you have lived for nearly half of your life. You’re in one place, playing a game, which is to say doing your job, which is playing a game. You’re in one place and you’re in all possible places; at times encircled, at times cursored, at times turned into a digital shroud of statistics that mark how fast you’ve run at your fastest. The shorn-smooth grass you walk on—you mostly walk, like a painter let loose on a meadow, while everyone else runs as though late for a meeting — is black ice for the rest of us.

Your name is stamped between your shoulder blades. You turn your back away from the ball. We all know who you are. You balance yourself and focus. What you’re about to do has no name. It won’t be the first time and it won’t be the last. But I felt the need to tell you, today of all days, that—

(from RR Phillips "They think they know you").

Tuesday, 26 February 2019

“Do you fall in love often?"

Yes often. With a view, with a book, with a dog, a cat, with numbers, with friends, with complete strangers, with nothing at all.” 

Tuesday, 19 February 2019

“It is worse to stay where one does not belong at all than to wonder about lost for a while and looking for the psychic and soulful kinship one requires”.

Wednesday, 13 February 2019

Not only in time are we expanded. In space, too, we stretch out far over what is possible. 

 We leave something of ourselves behind when we leave a place; we stay there, even though we go away. And there are things in us that we can find again only by going back there. We go to ourselves, travel to ourselves, when the monotonous heat of the wheels brings us to a place where we have covered a stretch of our life, no matter how brief it may have been. 

When we set foot for the second time on the platform of the foreign railway station, hear the voices over the loudspeaker; smell the unique odours, we have come not only to the distant place, but also to the distance of our own inside; to a perhaps thoroughly remote corner of our self which, when we are somewhere else, is completely in the dark and invisible. 

Otherwise, why should we be so excited, so outside ourselves when the conductor calls the names of the places, when we hear the screech of the brakes and are swallowed up in the suddenly appearing shadow of the railway station? Otherwise, why should it be a magical moment, a moment of silent drama when the train comes to a complete halt with a final jolt? It is because from the first steps we take on the strange and not strange platform, we resume a life we had interrupted and left, when we felt the first jolts of the moving train. What could be more exciting than resuming an interrupted life with all its promises?

It is an error, a nonsensical act of violence, when we concentrate on the here and now with the conviction of thus grasping the essential. What matters is to move surely and calmly, with the appropriate humour and the appropriate melancholy, into the temporarily and spatially expanded internal landscape that we are. As if unable to expand externally, we are not able to expand internally either, can't multiply and are deprived of the possibility of undertaking expansive excursions in ourselves and discovering who and what else we could have become ("Night train to Lisbon" by Pascal Mercier).

Monday, 11 February 2019

"Nothing is random, nor will anything ever be,  whether a long string of perfectly blue days that begin and end in golden dimness …  the crystalline structure of a gem that has never seen the light …  or the occurrence of one astonishingly frigid winter after another." 

Tuesday, 5 February 2019

She was carrying some of those repulsive yellow flowers. God knows what they're called, but they are somehow always the first to appear in spring. They stood out very sharply against her black coat. She was carrying yellow flowers! What an ugly color. She turned off Tverskaya into a side street and looked back. You know Tverskaya, there must have been a thousand people around, but I knew that she saw no one but me. And I was struck less by her beauty than by the extraordinary loneliness in her eyes, such as no one had ever seen before! Obeying this yellow sign, I also followed down the lane and followed her. We walked along the crooked, boring lane silently, I on one side, she on the other. And, imagine, there was not a soul in the lane. I was suffering, because it seemed to me necessary to speak to her, and I worried that I wouldn't utter a single word, and she would leave, and I'd never see her again. And, imagine, suddenly she began to speak:

"Do you like my flowers?"

– The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov

Thursday, 31 January 2019

What I grasped only very slowly and much later was true: he didn't want me to be involved in his life. In a sense that's very hard to explain; he wanted me to stay outside it.

He loved trains, they were a symbol of life for him. I would like to have traveled in his compartment. But he didn’t want me there. He wanted me on the platform. He wanted always to be able to open the window and ask me for advice. And he wanted the platform to move when the train started moving. Like an angel, I was to stand on the moving platform, on the angels' platform moving at exactly the same speed (Pascal Mercier,"Night Train to Lisbon").

Sunday, 27 January 2019

Saturday, 26 January 2019

... I’m sitting by the little
who is sitting in 
my yard. I imagine
you walking in
gasping at the 
same couch
the same bed
it’s almost 
the same
town but this is
what I meant... 

Eileen Myles

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

What are reason and sobriety without the knowledge of intoxication?

― Hermann Hesse, Narcissus and Goldmund

Thursday, 17 January 2019

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

It was the middle of January and there was nothing to look forward to. The radio station went off at dusk and dusk came early in the afternoon and then came the dark and nothing to watch but a bleached out moon lying over fields slick as a frosted cake, and nothing to hear at all (Joy Williams).

Saturday, 12 January 2019

There was nothing to be done. From then on, there were flowers waiting for me every time we met, and in the end I gave in, because I was disarmed by the spontaneity of giving and understood that Lucie cared for it; perhaps her tongue-tied state, her lack of verbal eloquence, made her think of flowers as a form of speech; not in the sense of heavy-handed conventional flower symbolism, but in a sense still more archaic, more nebulous, more instinctive, prelinguistic; perhaps, having always been sparing of words, she longed for that mute stage of evolution when there were no words and people communicated by simple gestures.

― Milan Kundera, The Joke

Friday, 11 January 2019

Thursday, 10 January 2019

I love metaphor.I think metaphorically, feel metaphorically, see metaphorically. And if anything in writing comes easily, comes unbidded, often unwanted, it is metaphor. Like follows as as night the day. I have to beat the comparisons back into the holes they pour from. Some salt is savory. I live in a sea (William Gass).

You can fall in love in different ways. 

You can fall in lust so that inside is butterflies and your heart skipping a bit. 

You can fall in love, so as in the fantabulous picture. - There were you, so smitten, with the same eye color, smiles that concur everyone, and the whole world stopped to admire you, their favourite love songs coming to mind. 

You can fall in love as of melancholia. Because you want to run away and want to be extant and want to have something festively momentous. 

You can fall in love as of boredom and for someone to love you - to appease your inner child. You can fall in love just of mere enervation or even out of despair, because the soul is torn and wants to fall apart but you do not know what else to do and so you fall in love. Whether because it is a sensation, or because you are relearning to breathe in this desirous loneliness mixed with longing, walking into the light after a lifetime of semi-shadows, in search of a transitory relish for the "hungry ghost" soul. Yes, it happens too. 

You can fall in love also in a way that not to keep. To kiss the cheek parting and know that never more and good that so. Because it's beautiful, because it's not about you and not about them, and not about you two.

You can once fall in love, and then soon not love. And you can not love, and then one day fall in love...

Thinking about the dialogue. As being with someone is to conduct a far-reaching dialogue with them... Here no lips, legs, success, money, sexual skills would help. Many people for some reason agree to concessed modus vivendi dialogue... Maybe because they did not know a good dialogue in their life?!

© Elin Vidoff

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

I decided to go to the movies. I didn’t really care what was playing; I just wanted the sense of relief when the lights fade out and the world dissolves, the slight confusion when they are turned back up and it reassembles itself (Hernan Diaz, "The stay").

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

You came one day and
as usual in such matters
significance filled everything—
your eyes, the things you
knew, the way you turned,
leaned, stood, or sat,
this way or that: when
you left, the area around here rose
a tilted tide, and everything that
offers desolation drained away.
—A. R. Ammons
*This poem was found after the poet’s death on the back of an envelope from Helen Vendler, November 28, 1981.

Sunday, 6 January 2019

What if for the lengthy list of New Year resolutions to make a list of mix-ups and catch-22s...

A straightforward contradictory plan of where to plunge, so that the year would turn out as stirring and indelible as the previous ones...

Instead of all sorts of tediousness as such: "This year, I will finally reread Joyce-drink less champagne-eat less ice cream-start running with my dog".  Seriously? (OT, did anyone ever finish 2013 Booker winner  “The Luminaries”, a pastiche missed opportunity?)

Is boredom not a "shriek of unused capacities".

The most innocuous thing that I would like to do is to walk the Path of St. James (800 km through Spain to Santiago de Compostela). And no, I'm not religious.

I am convinced that the most interesting experiences are born in the quandaries. The compact demon inside never lets me forget about it. I don't happen to be good with the righteous people, moral hypocrites and any manifestations of correctness...

You've got a busy "on assignment" brain, with all those experimental motives for "rocking the boat", your own repertoire of absurdities, while juggling with a finite number of opportunities to get away with it... And you’d bite the edge of a smile when got a wicked vision in your head, a vain attempt to keep your unconfessed grin at bay. The scheme behind your perking lips wasn’t something that could straightforwardly be ensured. It was somewhat finer to be insured and aspire for the best.

The fire comes from the inside. To learn to fight, you must have the madness of combat in you.

Sometimes on the edge of the wheel of change, moving with it,  sometimes moving to its center, where there is no movement. Pulsating U2 echoing:  "The world is spinning fast tonight. You can hurt yourself trying to hold on to what you used to be. I’m so glad the past is all gone".

Not evoking neutrality, unnerving and intense, finding each other in our tenacious search for distance inwards and transformation. Seeking transcendence spiritually, sexually, intellectually, creatively, or any reproved or glorified way imaginable...

© Elin Vidoff